School of Intuitive Herbalism

Learning from the plants directly

The ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences‘ study was a significant development in well designed research, highlighting the profound links between childhood experiences and a whole range of disease. Strong correlations were found, often indicating that the risk of developing a particular disease can be increased well over 100% for those reporting several adverse childhood experiences. Research is now very active in this area, as the links below demonstrate.

I find this research particularly valuable since my experience of working both with the herbs and bodywork is that both can touch deep, often unknown, trauma within the body. The process of meeting and integrating this trauma with compassion is, I believe, a crucial part of many people’s healing.

For specific details and exampes of emotional abuse follow this link.

The papers listed below give a sense of the research emerging in this area:

Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg D, Williamson DF, Spitz AM, Edwards V, et al. Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Am J Prev Med. 1998 May;14(4):245–58.

Ports KA, Merrick MT, Stone DM, Wilkins NJ, Reed J, Ebin J, et al. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Suicide Risk: Toward Comprehensive Prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2017 Sep 1;53(3):400–3.

Hillis SD, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Nordenberg D, Marchbanks PA. Adverse childhood experiences and sexually transmitted diseases in men and women: a retrospective study. Pediatrics. 2000 Jul;106(1):E11.

Hillis SD, Anda RF, Dube SR, Felitti VJ, Marchbanks PA, Marks JS. The association between adverse childhood experiences and adolescent pregnancy, long-term psychosocial consequences, and fetal death. Pediatrics. 2004 Feb;113(2):320–7.

Chapman DP, Whitfield CL, Felitti VJ, Dube SR, Edwards VJ, Anda RF. Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. J Affect Disord. 2004 Oct 15;82(2):217–25.

Dube SR, Fairweather D, Pearson WS, Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Croft JB. Cumulative Childhood Stress and Autoimmune Diseases in Adults. Psychosom Med. 2009 Feb;71(2):243–50.

Fuemmeler BF, Dedert E, McClernon FJ, Beckham JC. Adverse childhood events are associated with obesity and disordered eating: Results from a U.S. population-based survey of young adults. J Trauma Stress. 2009 Aug;22(4):329–33

Danese A, Moffitt TE, Harrington H, Milne BJ, Polanczyk G, Pariante CM, et al. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Risk Factors for Age-Related Disease: Depression, Inflammation, and Clustering of Metabolic Risk Markers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Dec 7;163(12):1135–43

Brown DW, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Edwards VJ, Malarcher AM, Croft JB, et al. Adverse childhood experiences are associated with the risk of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health. 2010 Jan 19;10:20

Baird D, Wise L. Childhood Abuse and Fibroids. Epidemiology. 2011 Jan;22(1):15–7.

Tietjen GE, Khubchandani J, Herial NA, Shah K. Adverse childhood experiences are associated with migraine and vascular biomarkers. Headache. 2012 Jun;52(6):920–9.

Burri A, Maercker A, Krammer S, Simmen-Janevska K. Childhood Trauma and PTSD Symptoms Increase the Risk of Cognitive Impairment in a Sample of Former Indentured Child Laborers in Old Age. PLoS One [Internet]. 2013 Feb 26 [cited 2017 Aug 28];8(2). Available from:

Su S, Jimenez MP, Roberts CTF, Loucks EB. The Role of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Cardiovascular Disease Risk: a Review with Emphasis on Plausible Mechanisms. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2015 Oct;17(10):88.

Huang H, Yan P, Shan Z, Chen S, Li M, Luo C, et al. Adverse childhood experiences and risk of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Metab Clin Exp. 2015 Nov;64(11):1408–18.

Leung JPK, Britton A, Bell S. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Alcohol Consumption in Midlife and Early Old-Age. Alcohol Alcohol. 2016 May 1;51(3):331–8

Guillaume S, Jaussent I, Maimoun L, Ryst A, Seneque M, Villain L, et al. Associations between adverse childhood experiences and clinical characteristics of eating disorders. Scientific Reports. 2016 Nov 2;6:srep35761.